Argue, Darcy James/Secret Society - Brooklyn Babylon

SKU 34-NWAM 046
Darcy and this magnificent modern large ensemble seemingly came out of nowhere with his band's 1st release in 2009 and simply amazed me (and seemingly everyone else who follows contemporary jazz and creative music, as the record got heavily reviewed everywhere!). Now it's 4 years later and they've got that much more experience under their belt for this second release which is somewhat different than the 1st one (good!) and still builds upon their previous work (better!). Hugely & personally recommended!

"Working with his 18-piece big band, Brooklyn-based Canadian modern composer Darcy James Argue has fashioned a unique musical document in the form of a series of compositions used as both a mirror to and companion piece for a graphic novel by Danijel Zezelj. Argue's compositional abilities are matched step for step by brilliant performances from the Secret Society players, and the result is an impressively innovative achievement that stands effortlessly on its own. Notable for both its sonic/ cinematic sweep and its seamless amalgam of contemporary and late 20th Century sounds, Brooklyn Babylon is a feast for fans of Aaron Copland, Kurt Weill, Thelonious Monk and others of their stature. Audacious stuff that grabs the ear and mind from the opening track and never lets up."-Scene Magazine, Rod Nicholson

"Weaving together progressive jazz, early-American popular styles, Balkan folk musics, and the sounds of Brooklyn's diverse contemporary music scene.... Argue creates a vividly evocative musical narrative that is at once timeless and unlike anything heard before. Argue's Secret Society is one of the most admired ensembles in contemporary jazz, having toured in Europe, Brazil, and North America and been twice featured at the Newport Jazz Festival. Its members include in-demand instrumentalists such as John Ellis, Ingrid Jensen, Ryan Keberle, and Sam Sadigursky.

Brooklyn Babylon was conceived in collaboration with Croatian-born visual artist Danijel Zezelj, whose narrative inspired Argue s mash-up of musical styles. Zezelj's artwork places the action in a larger-than-life, mythic Brooklyn, where past, present, and future coexist. Plans are afoot to construct an immense tower - the tallest in the world - right in the heart of the city. Lev Bezdomni, a master carpenter, finds himself torn between his personal ambition and his allegiance to the community when he is commissioned to build the carousel that will crown it.

The 53-minute work shows Argue taking a novelistic approach to long-form composition: a prologue, eight chapters separated by brief interludes, and an epilogue. The album opens with the actual sounds of Brooklyn - a sonic collage of recordings of the borough captured on Argue's portable digital recorder. The ensemble gradually comes into focus and introduces the Prologue, from which every subsequent musical theme in Brooklyn Babylon derives. Argue reconfigures these themes using a broad array of techniques, inflected by contemporary indie rock, classical music, and jazz, particularly from the often maligned 1970s: the earthy avant-garde of Dewey Redman and Lester Bowie; the intricate large-ensemble sounds of Thad Jones and Don Ellis; and the sophisticated populism of Donald Byrd and Herbie Hancock's Headhunters. Waltzes, marches and - naturally - fairground carousels also fold into the mix."
  • LabelNew Amsterdam
  • UPC884501864640
Your Price $13.00

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